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Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

India - Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

All foreign nationals who wish to come to India must have their own country's valid passport and an Indian visa. This is however an exception for nationals of Tibet and Bhutan who do not require a visa but only if they come from their own countries. Nationals of Maldives do not require a visa for initial 90 days.

Depending on the nature of one's visit, the following categories are defined to apply for a visa. These categories cannot be changed once the person has reached India:


In India, there is no provision of 'Visa on Arrival'. But there is a provision of granting 'Temporary Landing facility (TLF)/ Temporary Landing Permit (TLP) which allows foreign nationals to enter India under emergency situations as death in the family etc. on payment of US $ 40.

The power of Visa conversion rests with the Ministry of Home Affairs. The change of visa status from one category to another category is normally not allowed. It can be considered by MHA only in extraordinary circumstances. For this purpose the foreigners can approach the Foreigners Division, MHA, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi between 10 AM to 12 AM on all working days (Monday to Friday).

The following documents are required to be submitted for visa:

1. 'Visa application Form'
a) Visa application form should be filled in legibly and clearly, in bold (capital) letters in black/blue ink only. There is a possibility that incomplete and illegible applications may not be processed. b) Name and other relevant particulars should be filled in as per details in the passport in expanded form.

2. Passport should have a minimum validity of six months on the date of application with at least two blank pages.

3. Photographs: 2 latest identical passport size photographs (black/white or color) depicting front pose against light background are required.

4. Supporting documents, if the visa being applied for is other than a Tourist Visa, the visa application should be accompanied with supporting documents on type of visa applied for. For details, please see categories of visa given below.

5. Visa Fee, The amount of fee depends on the category of Visa. In case the applications are deposited in person at the counter, visa fee can be paid in cash or by Cashier's Check/Certified Check or Money Order made payable to the Embassy of India, Washington (PERSONAL CHECKS / CREDIT CARDS are not accepted)

6. Persons of Indian Origin applying for a visa for the FIRST time on US passport must submit their Indian passport along with the application form for cancellation and return. If the visa is required on a new US passport booklet, either previous US passport or photocopy of Indian visa is to be submitted with the application.

There are certain additional requirements to be fulfilled by non-US citizens. Foreigners visiting India on long-term visas have to complete registration formalities.

Citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh are required to fill Special Visa application forms. It usually takes 3-4 months to process visa applications of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Chinese passport holders.

All details about visa fees, registration requirements and additional guidelines are available with the Indian Embassy.

These are available online at http://www.indianembassy.org/consular/visa_guide.htm

Those foreigners who enter India with a valid visa for more than 180 days should do registration even if they do not plan to stay for more than half a year. This is to be done just once with the nearest foreigners' registration officer within two weeks of their arrival. If the visa is for multiple entries, one can leave and re-enter the country as many times as he wants.

In India, an individual is treated as a resident in a year if

1. He is present in India for a total period of 182 days.
2. Maintains a dwelling place for a period of 182 days in a year and is in India for at least 30 days.
3. Has been in India for 60 days in that year and for 365 days in preceding 4 years.

Any newcomer to India remains not ordinarily resident.

However, this registration certificate should be surrendered at the time of one's final departure from India.

The immigration services at the major International Airports in India and the foreigners' registration work in five major cities, are handled by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI).

The field officers in charge of immigration and registration activities at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Amritsar are called Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs). The designation for the equivalent in Chennai (Madras) is Chief Immigration Officer (CHIO). Apart from the FRROs/CHIO who looks after the immigration/registration functions in the above mentioned five cities, the concerned S.Ps (Superintendents of Police) function as Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in the other districts in different states in the country.

Certain Health regulations are laid down by BOI for entry into India:

Any person, Foreigner or Indian, (excluding infants below six months) arriving by air or sea without a vaccination certificate of yellow fever will be kept in quarantine isolation for a period upto 6 days if:

a. He arrives in India within 6 days of departure from an infected area.

b. Has come on a ship which has started from or transited at any port in a yellow fever affected country within 30 days of its arrival in India provided such ship has not been disinfected in accordance with the procedure laid down by WHO.

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